Self-taught in design Melissa Chan spent herÂ formative designÂ years designing flyers and websites. Melissa then went on to enroll in Limkokwing University of Creative Technology in 2002, where she attended one year in foundation studies in Graphic Design & Multimedia and a semester in Visual & Digital Arts. For someone who then decided not to complete her diploma, Melissa has the kind of resume most graduates would die for.Â After various high powered posts, in 2008 Melissa co-founded design studio Kraftgrafik and is currently curating her online store Autommatik. Phew! This girl is serious about design and JUICE is glad to report that Melissa is serious about being a Malaysian too.
What does it mean to be Malaysian?
I am still struggling to find my Malaysian identity. I guess to be Malaysian, in a sense you’d have to love food, drive like it’s the end of the world, be creative triple parking when there’s lack of parking space, for instance and make shopping malls your second home. Not me though, I don’t understand the fascination with shopping malls!
Where did you grow up and what is your fondest childhood memory of Malaysia?
I grew up in the suburbs of Petaling Jaya – used to live and still live there – and also Kuala Lumpur because both my parents’ relatives are scattered mostly in KL. My fondest memories, there are so many! One noteworthy one would be, trips to the late Tun HS Lee’s – he was my paternal grand uncle -Â colonial style mansion on Jalan Langgak Golf during Chinese New Year. I was always poking my nose in front of his glass cabinet filled with his collection of memorabilia from his days serving our country, as he helped gained independence for Malaya and he was our country’s first Finance Minister. Because my father’s side of family has strong roots in Kuala Lumpur, that part of me connects me deeply with our country, particularly KL.
What will you be doing when the clock strikes 12 midnight on 31 August this year?
Spending a quiet night at home.
What’s your definition of independence?
I guess independence really means when a person or a country can really stand on its own two feet – a person with a strong foundation and clear thinking of what they want for themselves and to be able to work towards their aims and achieving success.
Who’s your Malaysian hero?
Raja Petra Kamarudin.
What is your favorite Malaysian song right now?
I recently stumbled across Yuna. I have to admit was kinda skeptical about her before this, but I changed my mind when I listened to her songs! I like her song ‘Random Awesome’.
Who is your favourite Malaysian band/artist?
Where is your favourite Malaysian getaway?
Ipoh. I love the quaint quiet town that has this old pre-war/colonial charm that Kuala Lumpur has lost.
The worst and best Malaysian traits are…..
The worst is that most Malaysians spend their lives chasing after money but don’t really live and enjoy life. Best trait is most definitely the food, what else?
If you were Prime Minister for the day you would…..
I’d demolish the existing administration buildings in Putrajaya, hire real architects to design proper administration buildings and rebuild them. Then plant more trees around it, and around Kuala Lumpur and Selangor, for that matter.
If you could leave Malaysian’s with one thought to ponder this Merdeka what would it be?
A quote from an article by The New York Times from the 1960’s – “Multiracial, multicultural, multireligious, – whatever their differences, Malaysians are all Asian, with a common heritage”.